Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Cubs first baseman Dan Vogelbach and Nats righty A.J. Cole.
Hitter of the Night: Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Cubs (Daytona, A+): 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR.
Vogelbach put on a power display in Palm Beach on Wednesday, hitting a pair of opposite-field home runs to the left-center gap at Roger Dean Stadium, which is no small feat. The big first baseman wants to get his arms extended and is at his best when he’s trying to go up the middle. He had a tendency to reach on balls on the outer half when he gets pull happy, but when he stays up the middle, he can drive the ball to all fields, which is what happened last night. He missed a third home run by less than a foot, pulling one just foul down the right field line.
Pitcher of the Night: A.J. Cole, RHP, Nationals (Syracuse, AAA): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K.
After bouncing back and forth from Washington to Oakland and back, Cole has finally settled in with the Nationals and is now just a phone call from the majors. His premium fastball continues to carry him, and he commands it well enough to get away with average secondary offerings, even at the highest levels of the minor leagues.
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This is what happens when you take a week off in mid-July. Gee and Gausman are both back in their respective rotations and should be stalwarts in most leagues down the stretch. There’s always the chance that the Orioles will do something dumb with Gausman, but here’s hoping we’ve seen the last of their roster games. Alcantara was only scheduled to be up for a couple of days initially, but he’s shown enough for the Cubs to DFA Darwin Barney this week. In fact, he’s doing almost exactly what he was doing in the minors, hitting .286/.316/.543 with six extra-base hits and three steals in eight games. Jimmy Nelson got shelled in his first outing, but it’s safe to say that the second one went better, throwing a quality start against a depleted Reds lineup on Tuesday evening. Unless the Brewers end up being a surprise player for a starting pitcher at the deadline, Nelson should hold off the banished Marco Estrada.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including the Twins' Eddie Rosario and the Pirates' Tyler Glasnow.
Hitter of the Night: Eddie Rosario, OF, Twins (New Britain, AA): 3-5, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR.
Rosario has had trouble getting going after missing the first 50 games of the year with a suspension. His bat will have to carry him, but if he continues to slide down the defensive spectrum (he’s playing some left field now), it may not be enough. There’s enough in the bat for a major league role, though perhaps not an everyday spot.
Pitcher of the Night: Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates (Bradenton, A+): 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 11 K.
I’ve been getting questions for a while now asking whether or not Glasnow should be promoted to Double-A. It’s a common question any time a player is having success at a level, and Glasnow’s success does prompt such inquires. In Glasnow’s case, however, my answer was that we need to see him throw more strikes before he can move up. As a general philosophy, I don’t like promoting prospects until they’ve mastered a level, and walking a batter every other inning falls just short of that in my book, even if the rest of the production has been as good as Glasnow’s. Plus, he’s young, so there’s no rush.
Steven Matz was selected in the second round of the 2009 draft out of Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, NY, which is apparently a breeding ground for notable names, ranging from sporadically funny and continuously fat comedian/actor Kevin James, wrestler Mick Foley, former co-host of America’s Funniest Home Videos John Fugelsang, and Terrance Hobbs, lead guitarist for the death metal band Suffocation. Because of these notable names on his high school’s resume, and more importantly, his southpaw potential on the mound, Matz received a bonus of $895K, almost half a million over the recommend slot. The future was bright.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Cubs outfielder Rock Shoulders and Blue Jays righty Taylor Cole.
Hitter of the Night: Rock Shoulders, LF, Cubs (Daytona, A+): 2-2, 2 R, HR, 2 BB.
Shoulders has struggled in the Florida State League this season against pitchers with a more advanced plan to attack the holes in his swing. Still, the power is very much intact, and his home run on Monday got out of the park before Shoulders had even left the batter’s box. He’s patient and looks for his pitch to hit, but he can be exploited on the inner half and struggles with decent breaking stuff once he’s behind in the count. He’s also not a left fielder, though he’s playing there some of the time. A massively built human being with some of the strongest legs I’ve ever seen, Shoulders will have to make adjustments quickly to continue to get at-bats in a stacked Cubs farm system, but his power potential remains enticing.
Pitcher of the Night: Taylor Cole, RHP, Blue Jays (Dunedin, A+): 6 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 12 K.
Maybe this will be the start that gets Cole out of the Florida State League. At 24, he’s old for his level, but his strikeout numbers have spiked this season to almost double his career norms. He’s also throwing a ton more strikes. He doesn’t have a power fastball or overpowering secondary stuff, so his strikeout totals may be a bit of an aberration, but he’s kept them up all season, so there’s something there. It’s time to find out if he can carry it over at the next step.
Updates on Michael Taylor, Victor Arano, Daniel Norris, and others.
Michael Taylor, OF, Nationals (Double-A Harrisburg)
Lost beside the incandescence of his Futures Game contemporaries, Taylor was a silent star in the pre-game batting practice, showing easy plus power with explosive hips and hands. It’s hard to champion any hitter after Gallo ruined our perception of power with his cage conquest, but I absolutely loved the way Taylor generated his pop, despite a body that doesn’t identify itself as a middle-of-the-order threat; Taylor is quite narrow in the hips and long, the body of an athlete but not the body commonly associated with a 23-year-old baseball player. Since being selected in the sixth round in the 2009 draft, Taylor has flashed tantalizing tools accompanied by maddening inconsistencies and on-the-field utility. But he has taken a big step forward so far in 2014, driving the ball with more authority and hanging in against arm-side pitching. The swing-and-miss is still a concern, and I don’t project Taylor to be a plus hit utility player at the major-league level. But if he can make enough contact to put the power and the speed into the game, his overall profile will play as a regular—and perhaps a first division impact talent if he can continue to refine at the plate. –Jason Parks
Notes on prospects who stood out this weekend, including Addison Russell, Hunter Harvey, and Archie Bradley.
Friday, July 18
James Ramsey, OF, Cardinals (Springfield, AA): 2-4, R, HR, BB, K. As though the Cardinals needed more well-developed hitting prospects, they are beginning to see yet another former first-round pick develop into something on which they can rely. Ramsey, once thought to be more of a fourth outfielder, is seeing his power production increase in Double-A this season without any diminishing effects on the rest of his offensive output.
Scouts' takes on Arismendy Alcantara, Mike Trout, Mark Appel, and other interesting players.
Many of our authors make a habit of speaking to scouts and other talent evaluators in order to bring you the best baseball information available. Not all of the tidbits gleaned from those conversations make it into our articles, but we don't want them to go to waste. Instead, we'll be collecting them in a regular feature called "What Scouts Are Saying," which will be open to participation from the entire BP staff and include quotes about minor leaguers and major leaguers alike.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including just about every blue-chip bat in the Cubs system.
Hitter(s) of the Night
The Cubs, Multiple Positions, Wrigleyville (All Levels): It’s a good time to be a Cubs prospect, and Thursday may have been the climax of the hype machine. It’s not going to be easy to tell Cubs fans to calm down after what happened last night.
In Triple-A, Javier Baez, who was making his regular season debut at second base in order to give himself and the organization more options for the future, continued his rise out of his early-season doldrums with a 2-for-4 night that included a double and a homer. Not to be outdone, his teammate Kris Bryant went 3-for-5 with a double and a home run of his own.
A Hall of Famer's remembrances of the Ted Turner years in Atlanta.
The view from the loge level this week has us seated in Atlanta. We’re not in Turner Field, though the Braves will grow roots there over the next month, with 21 of their next 29 on the corner of Georgia Avenue and Hank Aaron Drive. Instead our view is from Fulton County Stadium, aka the Launching Pad or the ‘Original’ Chop Shop. Your usher is one of my mentors and a man who taught the South and a nation about baseball, Braves Hall of Famer Pete Van Wieren. I was fortunate enough to be on the ‘listening-end’ of many great tales the legendary broadcaster shared with his much younger colleague, and a few times these stories managed to be documented. Most of you know at least a few of the details of these occurrences, but here are a handful of Braves’ memories through Pete’s eyes.
In our advanced media consumption world of ESPN, Fox Sports, Fox Sports 1, MLB Network, mlb.tv, etc., imagine the thoughts of a broadcaster in the mid-1970s when he realized that he would be calling games not in Atlanta, nor Georgia, but nationwide as his boss Ted Turner turned a local UHF channel into Superstation TBS and beamed it coast-to-coast into everyone’s home. The network’s most dependable daily program: the Atlanta Braves.